We recently had the opportunity to visit Jersey, one of the Channel Islands which are located in the English Channel off the the coast of France. We were invited by the Jersey tourism board, and were so excited to visit. For us it was one of those destinations we always wanted to see. As our flight descended, with the rain falling against the aircraft windows, we got our first glimpse of this little Channel Island. Even the rain couldn’t dampen our spirits as we were excited to be spending a weekend in Jersey. Here is our guide to help you plan your own weekend break in Jersey.
- But first why spend the weekend in Jersey?
- Getting there
- Where to stay
- Getting around
- Some tips to get you started
- Things to see and do on your weekend in Jersey
- Eating in Jersey
- Weekend Break in Jersey- a recap
But first why spend the weekend in Jersey?
We soon discovered after landing that Jersey, despite being small, has a lot to offer. In fact it pretty much has something for everyone. Nature lovers will enjoy the many coastal walks you can embark on, whilst history lovers will be fascinated exploring the many war tunnels built during the German occupation of the island during the second world war. Then of course there are the gorgeous beaches, the castles, the shopping, and the delicious food. And that is only scratching the surface. No matter what kind of break you are after, Jersey really has something for everyone.
Because it is an island there are a couple of ways to start your weekend break in Jersey. If you are traveling from the UK you can get the ferry from either Poole or Portsmouth. Or for the quicker option you can of course fly. We flew with Easyjet from Liverpool and the flight time was a mere 55 minutes. Flights out of Liverpool and the UK for that matter are really regular and well priced so you definitely have no excuse not to visit.
Where to stay
Jersey has a number of accommodation options to fit all budgets and holiday types. From seaside resorts to bed and breakfasts, you are spoilt for choice. We stayed at the Hotel de France in St Helier, and loved it. The room was large and the view was just spectacular. St Helier has many pubs and restaurants, and was also a great base for us to explore the island.
The best way to see the island is to rent a car. It gives you a lot more flexibility. That being said if you base yourself in St Helier buses seems pretty frequent to most major attractions. We rented a car through Hertz and for us it made seeing the island so easy.
Some tips to get you started
- If you are renting a car you don’t need anything too large. The highest speed on the island is 40 mph and even that is pretty rare. The roads can be quite narrow especially out of St Helier so the smaller the car the better.
- The currency in Jersey is the Pound. You can pay in Pound Sterling like you would in the rest of the UK, but change is usually given in the Jersey Pound. You cannot use this back in the UK so be sure to spend it or change it before returning home.
- Prices in Jersey are quite moderate for things like accommodation, food, and drinks etc. It was all pretty much on par with what you would spend in say a city like Manchester. The only thing that was a bit more expensive were the taxis.
Things to see and do on your weekend in Jersey
Like I mentioned above there is something in Jersey for everyone. It all depends on the type of holiday you want. Dave and I were looking for a relaxed trip, but we also wanted to see as many sights as possible. Here is what we got up to to give you some ideas for planning your own weekend break in Jersey.
St Ouen’s Bay
Before checking into our hotel, we decided to drive to St Ouen’s Bay. This is an area with a stretch of sandy beaches to explore, and we were also told is perfect for surfing. We took a short walk along the beach and inhaled that amazing sea air. It is such a beautiful place, and not too far from the airport so it is worth visiting after you arrive or before you leave.
Jersey War Tours
Dave loves history, and much to my annoyance is one of those people that can spend hours watching the history channel. For this reason a war tour in Jersey was a must for us. Jersey was occupied by the Nazis in the second world war. As part of this occupation they used forced labour to build a series of bunkers and tunnels throughout the island.
We had the opportunity to do the ‘Bunkers at Night’ tour, which is not just your run of the mill tour. We got to join researchers Phil and Kimberley on a tour of some of their own research sites which are not usually open to the public. The great thing is, Phil and Kimberley have so many stories and are loaded with so much information. For them this is a passion and this comes across in the tour. We visited a few tunnels and bunkers, and got to hear the stories of those that built them. At the end of the tour we got to see and hold some of the weapons found in Jersey after the occupation.
You don’t need to be a history buff to love this tour, even I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I am that person that makes Dave change the channel immediately as soon as anything history related comes on the TV. The thing is it is fascinating learning about what happened during the war and the lessons learnt through history. For instance we learnt that plastic sandbags were to be distributed to the islanders in case of a nuclear war. We got to see these sandbags as part of our tour.
The North Coast
One of my favourite spots on the island had to be the north coast. It’s rugged and rocky and is a direct contrast from the beaches we explored in St Ouen’s bay.
We first stopped off at Plemont. Here we came across some incredible cliffs with the most amazing sea views. Walking along here was stunning, and we didn’t come across a lot of other people which was surprising considering how beautiful it was. There were wild flowers springing up around the well worn paths, and as we walked along listening to the roaring waves, it was truly a moment of bliss.
After taking in the scenery we set off to Greve de Lecq, one of the more popular bays in the North Coast. There are a few cafes here and we spotted a few people with fishing rods out trying their luck at catching something. It is a great place to walk along the sandy beach and enjoy the jovial seaside atmosphere.
Our final stop along the north coast was the quaint little harbour of Rozel. There is a row of fisherman’s cottages that lead you towards the pier. It is also home to the Hungry Man Kiosk where we were told to go for the best bacon sandwiches on the island.
Do a “seafari” with Jersey Seafaris
This was another trip highlight for us. We hopped on a RIB boat with Jersey Seafaris, and were taken to the Ecrehous, a small group of islands and rocks located about 6 miles from Jersey. As soon as Dave found out what a RIB boat was he did feel a little anxious. Dave does get a bit freaked out on the water especially because he can’t swim, whereas I grew up in Australia and the water was like a second home. Sometimes you do have to face your fears because missing out on an experience can often be worse then the fear itself. The guys who ran the tour were fantastic though. They calmed Dave’s fears and let him know what was happening every step of the way. And in the end we both had so much fun, and created some memories we will never forget.
The tour starts in St Catherine’s Breakwater, and you soon find yourself speeding along the water with the wind in your hair. Before getting to the Ecrehous, we ran into a fisherman. We pulled up alongside him and he showed us his catch for the day. This was a really amazing experience. We then pulled up near some large rocks spotting some seals. The guys running the tour do their best not to disturb the seals, whilst also giving us a chance to see them. They also provided us with binoculars, which helped.
When we pulled up to Ecrehous, it was low tide. The island is really rocky and you would be forgiven for thinking you had landed on another planet. There are a few very small houses on the island, which were empty when we visited but do get used in the summer. It was amazing just being able to explore and see the beauty of the place for ourselves. We got around 45 minutes to explore before heading back to our starting point. This tour is a must when visiting Jersey. It is such an amazing experience, and something you will remember for a really long time.
We loved exploring St Aubin, a picturesque port with a wonderful atmosphere. It is a great place to go for a stroll and has a relaxing village vibe. There are also a number of eateries here, so it is a must especially around lunch time, which just so happened to be when we visited.
St Brelade’s Bay
The cool thing about St Brelade’s Bay is that it was voted one of the top three best UK beaches. So obviously we had to go and check it out. It seems to be one of the more popular places to go in Jersey. As we made our way across the sand at low tide, we watched a number of people suit up and get ready for some surfing. There are a lot of rocky spots along here which make for some fantastic places to explore. And there are also a number of walks you can do around here with some amazing sea views.
Gorey Harbour and Mont Orgueil Castle
We have lumped both of these in together because if you don’t have time to explore the castle you should still visit Gorey Harbour where the castle sits photogenically above. This is probably one of the most iconic pictures of Jersey and it is worth it to come down take a few shots and explore the harbour. This is also where we got all our postcards and souvenirs. Unfortunately we ran out of time so we didn’t get to explore the castle, which was a shame. I guess that is what return trips are for though.
Eating in Jersey
Jersey is by all accounts a foodie’s paradise. Obviously it is an island and fishing is a huge part of the culture in Jersey.The seafood is fresh and incredibly delicious and we can absolutely vouch for that! Apart from seafood, there is also an element of french cuisine that you notice on restaurant menus, which isn’t surprising given Jersey’s close proximity to France. There are so many places to choose from to get a good meal, and we thought we would have to roll ourselves onto the plane at one point. Here are some of our food highlights that we definitely recommend.
The Hungry Man
Located in Rozel Bay, this food kiosk is an unassuming food lover’s dream. A few locals recommended we visit and informed us it would be the best bacon sandwich of our lives. They were not wrong. Dave devoured his bacon roll, while I went for the crab sandwich which was delicious. The setting is also really beautiful as you get to eat outside looking out onto the harbour. It is the perfect place for a quick lunch.
Bass and Lobster
Located in the scenic harbour of Gorey, Bass and Lobster is pretty popular so it is probably best to book a table. Here we ended up gorging on a 3 course meal. I had tempura king prawns and squid on an asian slaw for starters, Halibut with tempura cauliflower for the mains, and the dessert was a caramel panna cotta with homemade ginger bread and an apple sorbet. It was incredible even if it did take most of the evening to digest!
Keeping with the seafood theme Dave had crispy whitebait for starters, fish and chips for his main, and a dark chocolate and chilli tart with creme fraiche and lime sorbet. The food was so fresh and they really paired the flavours well, we definitely recommend eating here.
Old Court House Inn
The Old Court House Inn is one of the most beautiful restaurants in St Aubin. We had a beautiful table in front of the windows which really showed off the gorgeous harbour. We wanted to try something local and again when in Jersey you have to go for the seafood. I ended up having scollops with smoked bacon lardons, butternut squash puree, lemon butter sauce & rocket. It was pretty filling and tasted amazing. Dave went for the seabass fresh crab linguine, bok choi, ginger, chilli & shellfish bisque. It was delicious and a wonderful representation of the food in Jersey.
Weekend Break in Jersey- a recap
As you can see Jersey really is the perfect place to go for your next mini break. It has a fascinating history, some breathtaking scenery, and will have food lovers thinking they have landed in paradise. As well as that it is only a short flight from the UK making it the perfect place to pop over for a weekend. So get booking for your own weekend break in Jersey now!
We were invited to visit Jersey as guests of the Jersey tourism board, however as always all views remain our own.
Lizzie is one half of Wanderlust and Life. Usually the voice behind the blog posts she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication (Public Relations & Advertising). She has lived in Australia, Canada & England, and is pretty travel obsessed. She is also a crazy cat lady in the making.